Jim Cramer knows that Starbucks' success is "deeply linked" to CEO Howard Schultz and said his coming departure as the company's chief signals the end of an era.
"I don't want the era to end, because the era was a great one," he said on CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday.
Starbucks COO Kevin Johnson is slated to replace Schultz, who will become executive chairman. Cramer said he has known Johnson for a long time and always knew when he came in that Schultz could transition out of the role.
"Howard Schultz built an empire, a fantastic company. He has stepped aside once before and the stock did not do well," Cramer said.
This time, Schultz is not stepping aside from Starbucks. In addition to his role as executive chairman, Schultz will devote his time to opening high-end Roastery coffee shops.
However, Cramer thinks Johnson could have work to do moving forward as CEO. Johnson spent 30 years in the technology industry, including 16 years at Microsoft and 5 years as CEO of Juniper Networks. This made Cramer question whether Johnson fully understands the consumer packaged goods group.
"I think he has done it, he's been on the board a long time," Cramer said about Johnson. "He's done a good job. I am sad to see Howard not be CEO."
One of the biggest problems for the company, Cramer said, is the throughput. It simply takes too much time to get through the long lines at each Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee, and there are only so many locations that can be opened to alleviate this problem.
"I think that given that their main product has got to get through in the morning with lots of alacrity. Kevin can do that, and I like the fact that Howard is going on to the Roastery, which could be the next big concept," Cramer said.
Later on Thursday on "Mad Money," Cramer questioned if investors could still love Starbucks shares without Schultz.
"Remember, management does matter," he said.
Shares of Starbucks were down 3.6 percent in after-hours trading following the news on Thursday.